Thursday, January 17, 2008

Taking Care

Winter is back. It came on the heels of a smallish snowstorm a few days ago, and we are now squarely in the teens, degree-wise. Crunchy snow, significant ice chunks in each and every water bucket, double gloves. The works. We got it.

I am usually kind of cranky about snow and cold. It takes a lot (ten hungry sheep, for instance) to get me into my coat and snow pants and goofy moon boots and trudging down to the barn. I’ll admit it: I’m a bit of a baby in the winter, a whiner even. Comes from being raised in sunny Florida, I guess.

But here’s the thing: It is such a terrific feeling, after stumbling around in the heavy snow and ice, hauling those sloshy cold buckets and armloads of hay out to the pens, to just stand quietly and watch the sheep around the feeder.

Hard to explain the whys of this. Perhaps it has to do with “taking care”, a simple and rarely touted pleasure. Sometimes—often!—taking care feels like a burden. It feels like the only thing I ever manage to do. It feels both awfully overwelming and small. Kids, chickens, cars, house, dogs, sheep, barn, etc etc. I TAKE CARE all the time. But standing along the chilly fence-line watching my sheep munch down, I can appreciate all that care a little more. These moments are simpler, more tangible. And sometimes, when I’m not cranky, overstretched, and grumpy, I can connect this simplest of tasks with all the other tasks that eat up so much time and energy, so many of hours I imagine myself doing something more grand and dramatic and forward-thinking. And it feels just fine, even good, to have so very, very much to care for.

No comments: